Sunday, April 21, 2024
ADVT 
Auto

2023 Lexus IS 500 Return of the V8

Benjamin Yong Darpan, 24 Jul, 2023
  • 2023 Lexus IS 500 Return of the V8

In what might be the swan song for the V8-powered sedan segment, the 2023 Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance is the return of an eight-cylinder option on the sporty four-door not seen since the previous generation. And if this is indeed the end of the road of big motors shoehorned into compact cars, it's not a bad way to go out.

No longer called IS F, the 500 is the first product to fall under the new F SPORT Performance line. The 5.0-litre engine is essentially an updated version of the unit last offered seven years ago, now sending 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque to the rear axle, representing a massive improvement over the previous 416 and 371, respectively.

Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the 0 to 100 km/h time is rated at approximately 4.4 seconds. While an impressive number, peak torque doesn't come on until 4,800 RPM and feels slower, especially compared to the instant acceleration modern EVs provide. However, the experience is much more visceral, and the throaty exhaust note sounds almost musical once things get moving, something Lexus has a reputation for.

Handling is surprisingly as nimble as the V6 IS 350 F SPORT, and the larger mill only adds an extra 143 pounds thanks to some clever engineering. And like its sibling, the vehicle benefits from the Dynamic Handling Package, the equipped standard here, comprised of Adaptive Variable Suspension — which monitors G-force, yaw, velocity and steering input and then adjusts the firmness accordingly — and a Torsen limited-slip differential.

Though built for performance driving, the 500 includes a Yamaha rear damper helping to increase comfort during low around-town speeds and stability and agility on the highway.

The car features some visual upgrades to stand out against the rest of the portfolio. The centre section of the specially-sculpted hood is raised to hint at what's underneath, and the front bumper and fenders are both elongated, appearing sleeker. Sitting on ornate lightweight 19-inch split 10-spoke Enkei wheels, there's also dark chrome window trim, a revised diffuser housing stacked quad exhaust tips and a black rear lip spoiler. The coat of bright Infrared paint on our press loaner was absolutely brilliant and turned a lot of heads on the road.

Inside, the cabin retains a heritage touch and feels similar to all second-gen IS' forward. Exclusive F SPORT Performance badging can be found on the leather steering wheel and door sill plates, and the motorized LFA-style, digital gauge cluster, gains a unique start-up animation. The heated and ventilated seats are the ideal combination of supportive and comfortable, holding occupants snuggly when engaged in spirited manoeuvres.'

The 2023 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance starts at $77,725 MSRP and is built at the Toyota Tahara Plant in Japan.

Highlights: 

MSRP: $77,725

Motor: 5.0-litre V8

Horsepower: 472 @ 7,100 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 395 @ 4,800 rpm

Gearbox: eight-speed automatic

Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel drive

Fuel economy: 16.0 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)

MORE Auto ARTICLES

Jeep Wrangler 4xe: Green and Mean Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler 4xe: Green and Mean Wrangler

A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, is complemented by two electric motors and a 400-volt battery pack. The resulting performance is nothing to scoff at: a total of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. 

2022 Infiniti QX60 review: Climbing the luxury ladder

2022 Infiniti QX60 review: Climbing the luxury ladder

The level of premium appointments in the interior is absolutely stunning. The cabin in our near grade-topping Sensory tester, slotting under the $67,995 Autograph, was draped in gorgeous melt-to-the-touch Saddle Brown semi-aniline leather with complementary hits of open pore ash wood looking elegant rather than gaudy as the trim sometimes can.

Mazda CX-50: New adventure-inspired SUV

Mazda CX-50: New adventure-inspired SUV

The most immediately noticeable outdoorsy aspect is the use of copious amounts of black body cladding on the bumpers, wheel arches and side sills. The addition of the off-road-ready armour complements the wind-swept lines of Kodo styling language surprisingly well, particularly in the desert-esque Zircon Sand Metallic paint colour of Darpan’s press loaner.

Major makeover: 2022 Lexus IS 300

Major makeover: 2022 Lexus IS 300

The already-excellent Lexus Safety System+ suite of technologies benefits from a few additions such as enhanced camera and radar equipment to help the pre-collision detection spot not just oncoming vehicles but preceding cyclists and pedestrians as well.

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge still setting EV benchmark

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge still setting EV benchmark

Formerly offering an already healthy range of 335 kilometres on a single charge of the 78 kilowatt-hour high-voltage battery, minor digital tweaks to energy and thermal management ups the number by 24 to a total of 359 kilometres. Owners of 2021 vehicles are also eligible for the upgrade.

2022 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe

2022 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe

Though the fifth generation E-Class is now getting a little long in the tooth, a replacement is coming soon. To tide enthusiasts over, however, Mercedes-AMG revealed a face-lifted E 53 last year highlighting fresh styling, a revised cabin and the introduction of the company’s high tech Mercdes-Benz User eXperience (MBUX) infotainment system.